TOP 5 PROSPECTS

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - Week 14 Matchups - Chris Bless­ing

Ex­cerpted from Base­bal­lHQ.com’s 2019 Mi­nor League Base­ball An­a­lyst. To or­der: https://www.base­bal­lhq.com/ mlba2019

1. DL Hall, LHP: Hall, 20, has an ath­letic, three-quar­ters de­liv­ery with great ex­ten­sion of his 6-2 frame. His two-seam fast­ball has solid arm-side run, while a late-fad­ing changeup is be­com­ing a top sec­ondary pitch. Hall will likely jump to high Class A af­ter post­ing a 2.10 ERA with 100 strike­outs in 941⁄3 in­nings in low A.

2. Yus­niel Diaz, OF: Diaz is a con­tac­to­ri­ented hit­ter who em­ploys a pa­tient plate ap­proach. He’s an above-av­er­age run­ner, though his lower-half me­chan­ics aren’t con­ducive to power. Af­ter hit­ting .285 with 11 homers and 12 steals at Class AA, Diaz, 22, will likely move to AAA.

3. Ryan Mount­cas­tle, 3B: A pure hit­ter with solid bar­rel control, Mount­cas­tle con­tin­ued to rake in 2018, hit­ting .297 with 13 HRs at Class AA. His av­er­age power plays up due to swing tra­jec­tory, mak­ing 20-25 homers pos­si­ble at peak. The 21-year-old’s arm likely lim­its him to left field or first base long term.

4. Grayson Ro­driguez, RHP: The 11th pick of the 2018 draft out of high school, Ro­driguez has a long, pro­jectable 6-5 physique. He throws a heavy fast­ball with late run, while his curve­ball and slider are emerg­ing break­ing pitches. The 19-year-old could start at Class A.

5. Austin Hays, OF: Hays strug­gled in 2018, miss­ing over two months with an an­kle in­jury and hit­ting .242 with 12 homers in 273 at-bats at Class AA. He has plus power but sold out for it in­stead of re­ly­ing on his nat­u­ral spray ap­proach. Hays, 23, could start 2019 in the ma­jors. 47-115, fifth place, AL East; missed play­offs

TOMMY GILLIGAN/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

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